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Workers welcome deal to save three meat processing plants

The owners of three meat processing plants in Wales say that more than 3,000 jobs have been safeguarded with its sale to a Birmingham based company. The Dutch firm Vion say they have agreed to sell the plant to 2 Sisters Food Group.

The deal includes a plant in Merthyr Tydfil and Sandycroft in Flintshire, both employing more than 1,300 staff. A further 300 people work at a poultry processing plant in Llangefni that has also been sold.

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NFU Cymru: Meat factories sale 'significant'

The president of NFU Cymru Ed Bailey says he is pleased by the news that the sale of three meat processing plants to 2 Sisters Food Group have been completed. His comments follow the announcement by the Birmingham company that they will buy factories in Merthyr Tydfil, Sandycroft and Llangefni.

The Union has already been in touch with both 2 Sisters and Vion to ensure a smooth transition for farmer suppliers.

Whilst this is good news for many, concern still remains over the future of Welsh Country Foods. We hope efforts can now be re-doubled to secure a purchaser for this plant to the benefit of employees at Welsh Country Foods, the local economy and farmers who supply the plant.

– Ed Bailey, NFU Cymru President

Food plants buyer employs 18,000 workers

The buyer of three meat processing plants in Wales already has 35 manufacturing sites in the UK, Ireland, Holland and Poland. The company based in Birmingham has annual sales of over £2.3bn with customers including Aldi, Asda and Harrods.

2 Sisters Food Group was established in 1993 by Ranjit Singh and remains privately owned.

The company began as a small scale frozen retail cutting operation, but has grown to employ 18,000 people serving the retail, foodservice and manufacturing sectors.

The firm produces a number of branded products including Buxted, Devonshire Red, Fox’s Biscuits, Goodfella’s Pizza, Matthew Walker Christmas puddings and Green Isle vegetables.

Welsh Government welcomes meat processing plant deal

The Welsh Business Minister has welcomed a deal to save more than 3,000 jobs at three meat processing plants in Wales. Edwina Hart said that deal would help to sustain the future for the workers and the supply chain in Wales.

I welcome today's announcement that 2 Sisters is to acquire VION’s poultry and red meat businesses, which safeguards the future of their operations in Wales. We have been working closely with both VION and 2 Sisters to help secure this deal in order to sustain the future for the workers and the supply chain in Wales.

– Edwina Hart AM, Welsh Business Minister

Thousands of jobs saved at food factories

Meat processing plant
The plant in Merthyr Tydfil processes red meat Credit: AP Photo/Eric Risberg

The owners of three meat processing plants in Wales say that more than 3,000 jobs have been safeguarded with its sale to a Birmingham based company. The Dutch firm Vion say they have agreed to sell the plant to 2 Sisters Food Group.

The deal includes a plant in Merthyr Tydfil and Sandycroft in Flintshire, both employing more than 1,300 staff. A further 300 people work at a poultry processing plant in Llangefni that has also been sold.

The deal does not affect the Welsh Country Foods factory on Anglesey which is also owned by Vion where 350 people are employed at lamb processing plant.

In November the company said that it had put its UK based businesses, which employ 6,000 workers, up for sale. Vion say they are focussing on their activities in the Netherlands and Germany.

Ranjit Singh, Chief Executive of 2 Sisters Food Group, said “We are delighted to be acquiring VION’s UK’s poultry and red meat businesses. They have faced significant uncertainty and tough trading in recent months, but today’s acquisition secures a viable future."

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Unite union: 'Asda must overturn Welsh Country Foods decision'

As the Asda hierarchy dithers on a decision, 350 workers and their families on Anglesey are being forced to face the fear of ongoing uncertainty about their future employment.

I would urge the Asda management to quickly wake up to the reality of their earlier decision and do to the right thing and overturn it with immediate effect. Until they do our members and their families will be seriously considering their custom at Asda.

– Andy Richards, Unite

Welsh Government 'working closely' with Vion

Whilst the company has announced its intention to leave the UK market - and sell its operations in Wales, they have confirmed that the interests of employees at the affected sites will be of the utmost importance. We have been working very closely with the company and we will work with prospective new buyers to offer any assistance as appropriate from the Welsh Government to secure the viability and future of the sites in Wales.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Farmers concern over uncertainty at meat processing plants

The sale of the Dutch-owned meat processing facilities could affect farmers as well. Many are worried about the uncertainty over who might buy the business.

These sales announcements make me very nervous, especially about supplying stock to them. It knocks our confidence. If they can't sell it they'll liquidate it, and if there are debts there - should we supply products to them?

Merthyr is massive they can slaughter 4,000 lambs a day and 400 cattle. For farmers supplying it - it is massive. They need to come up with security or a warranty if we are to keep supplying them

– Edward Rees, supplier of livestock to Vion at Merthyr
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